3D Printed Beer Locks, The Gift that Keeps on Keeping

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beer1You’ve heard about home brewing your own beer, but with so many different different micro-brewed beers available–sometimes the trouble doesn’t seem worth it.  But what do you do about making sure you get to enjoy your beer stash come holiday season? How about making your own beer locks?  Or forget your own stash for a minute. With the holiday season here, it is really hard to come up with that original gift idea.  Given the amount of spirits we imbibe between Thanksgiving until New Year’s, alcohol related gifts are a fairly common, and always appreciated, go-to item.  What about a 3D printed item more focused on keeping your prized alcohol–like craft beer– safe from those friends or relatives who swing by and help themselves to your fridge?  Or helping loved ones protect their own valuable stashes?

Never fear no beer: the 3D printed beer bottle lock is here.  Using a Makerbot Replicator 2 or practically any 3D printer, you can make your own locks to protect your stash, and make unique and humorous stocking stuffers for the entire office, too.

The first step is your design.  Most beer bottle caps are the same size, but the necks vary widely.  Using a modeling tool, like Fusion 360, for the design, you can make your locks fit your bottle necks, but it might be more practical to lock the cap like these instructions suggest.  This design made a “rough shape” of the bottle, with the lock as a clamp, and a hole to fit a luggage padlock, with one 4-40 screw on the hinge.

As for printing, bring your design to the MakerBot app (if this is the printer you are using) and simply position it. As the instructions suggest, using supports are necessary, as the hinge parts interlock and there are holes that cause “overhangs.”

This group of 6 beer locks took 6 hours to print. (image: Instructables.)

This group of 6 beer locks took 6 hours to print. (image: Instructables.)

For your next step it’s time for assembly. This set of 6 locks was designed using a 3/4″ long 4-40 machine screw, washer, and nut embedded in the print bottom. However, the nut proved unnecessary since it cracked the plastic, but the screw easily threaded right into the plastic without complications.

As you can see, the final results here of these 3D printed locks are quite attractive. Imagine inscribing them with “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings”.  You would certainly be off to a good start completing that ominous holiday gift list.  You can even pass the locks out as ornaments, or even wedding favors with the bride and groom’s names inscribed on them… the possibilities are endless.

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These 3D printed locks seem straightforward to make and are definitely functional for those who like to savor, not guzzle, their beer collection.  How many beer commercials have you seen with a group of friends fighting over the last brew?  This is one way to make your point, without the battle. It’s all about who has the key for the lock in the end.

Remember, nothing says ” I was thinking of you” more than a 3D printed item, which takes planning, design, printing, assembly–and, finally, the best part, utility.  Making these locks is half the fun, and unlocking them is certainly the other half!  Enjoy, and let us know if you have printed these out at home.  Feel free to post your pictures and experiences in the 3D Printed Beer Lock forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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